“The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” – Kurt Cobain
“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.” – Aristotle
There’s so much to expect from youth, isn’t it? Youth carries the burden of tomorrow, the responsibility of future. In the race of making the youth equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead, in the building of a family, of a community, of a nation, of a world, everyone forgets and disregards the building of a self, and a sense of self, which is the most fundamental to building everything else. We are so caught up preparing ourselves for the future that we forget to focus on the present. What is it that concerns the youth of today? Do we have the time to ponder on what they want rather than what the society would want of them?
Parents want to see their dreams fulfilled in their children, making them do what they themselves couldn’t do. If I he is not good at Maths, spend a thousand per hour and give him the best of tuition. He continues to do badly. How dare he? Take away his T.V. and his Smartphone. He continues to cry badly. Who cares? He must study. He must become an engineer and get into IIT. Why? Because his cousin got into IIT the last year, so must he, and with a better rank. He must toil day and night; break his back, even though he dreams of travelling across the seas to the distant lands and write a travelogue. But he must realize that they are not meant to be career options, but only hobbies.
In the village, she is made to learn to cook and sew, so that she could get married into a good family. Only her heart knows that she yearns to read books and act out stories. But she is a girl and must not speak much. After all, who would listen to her, or to the girl in the city who likes to wear the clothes of her choice? She has to feel insecure the moment she steps out of her house, or perhaps, even inside the house, over the phone, when she receives blank calls or vulgar messages from unknown numbers. She might be afraid to tell you, as it may restrict the little freedom she has got. Yes, your child might be afraid to tell you that he is being bullied by someone every day. And while you scold her for distorted sleep patterns, she might be afraid to tell that she is too worried about her future.
Yes, problems of the youth go neglected, everywhere, all the time. Choice given only in name, decisions imposed, options restricted, rules made, roles prescribed and deviations deterred. Where does one go? Bound by institutions, norms are to be followed. Responsibilities and duties lie ahead. But before we peep into the future, let’s pause, and have a look at the present. The youth of today is faced with issues like distorted body image, peer pressure, depression, bullying and many more which we fail to acknowledge as problems. They are right in our face and yet we ignore. We can’t pretend to succeed unless we tackle the barriers on our way. They have to be dealt with, and then crossed. Jumping over is no solution, because some day, we may be bereft of all energy doing it time and again.